OMG! OMG! OMG! I found it finally at such a good price! I must have it!
I am sure that most of us had that feeling before when we find that piece of comic history grail we have been on the hunt for. Truthfully, I am still on the hunt for my own grail, Flash #139 first appearance of the Reverse Flash, but that is a story for another day. If you have not had this feeling yet, just imagine you are on eBay searching for your comic book grail, for example, New Mutants # 98, 1st appearance of Deadpool. You filter the list to your specifications, and you locate the item listed for NM or better with a buy it now option. You look at the pictures and “skim” the description of the book.
You start to smile and laugh in excitement, while trying to compose yourself you decide to go for it before someone else snags it. You check out and just wait for the status to change from paid, shipped, and finally delivered. You open the package out of excitement and show it off only for someone to point out…” good for you, but that’s a reprint.” BARF (head cocked to the side) …reprint? That’s right what you didn’t see was buried all the way on the bottom of the description was this:
Yes, it so happens your new “Grail” is nothing more than a reprint and out of your excitement you missed the warning signs. eBay and sellers have created a market where they rely on impulse and knee jerk reaction from the buyers to making your purchases that sometimes we might miss the fine details. Sadly, there has been a recent uptick of sellers not being forthcoming that the item they are selling is indeed a reprint and not the original.
We can argue that the seller did disclose that it was a facsimile and the buyer should have done a better job. I can get behind that, but in some cases the sellers did not do this, and this is the purpose of this post. This post is to provide buyers with tips to protect themselves from this type of deceptive selling practice, while challenging sellers to do better.
Tip #1: READ THE FINE PRINT!!!
As a buyer we have the responsibility to do our research, which means reading all the information that is presented to us from the seller. If we do not feel we have enough information, we can message the buyer to get all our concerns address. Which feeds into Tip# 2.
Tip #2: Don’t always buy on impulse
I know, I know this is difficult because we want to be sure not to miss out on a great deal. Sometimes if the deal is too good to be true, it might just be. Be confident in your purchase and put the time you need to before buying it.
Tip #3: Spot the difference between original and facsimile/reprint
Sticking with the New Mutants #98 there are two differences on the cover that will help you tell them apart.
As you can see the original copy of the New Mutants #98 has the original $1.00 cover right and the 50th year logo, while the facsimile/reprint has the modern cost of $3.99 for the comic and the barcode on the lower left. It is knowing details like this that will help reducing your chances of buying a reprint thinking it’s the original, unless that is your thing.
Tip #4: When in doubt just ask
As a seller, I appreciate if buyers reach out to ask me questions related to the item I am selling. This helps to put them at ease if they should buy the item, while reducing my risk of negative feedback. When I am the buyer to do make sure to ask questions before I hit that purchase button.
In the end until Ebay or any e-commerce does more to curb the behavior, it is up to us in the comic community to ensure we have the information to make an informed decision. If you have any suggestion or more tips please let me know and I can add it to an updated version of this post.
Till next time comic family!